The tradition returns with Bountiful’s Handcart Days celebrationJul 14, 2022 01:02PM ● By Tom Haraldsen
BOUNTIFUL–After a two year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a long-time tradition returns this year when Handcart Days takes place July 15 and 16 in Bountiful. Some new events and old favorites are back, including the popular parade on Bountiful’s Main Street (at a new time), a Friday night concert in the park, plus food and family fun at Bountiful City Park, 400 North 200 West.
“We were involved with the 2019 event, and at that time, no one could have anticipated the pandemic,” said John Lund, who along with his wife Staci is over public relations for the event. “We’ve spent the last several weeks visiting with businesses and others here in Davis County, and certainly there’s a lot of excitement that Handcart Days is back. It’s a tradition for many families in Davis County.”
This year’s events are a week earlier than they’ve been in the past, which Lund said was “so we wouldn’t have to compete with families and their 24th of July plans. We’ve also moved the parade from Friday night to Saturday morning, again to make it easier and more convenient for families so they don’t have to rush home to make it down to a Friday night event. Plus, the temperatures will be cooler in the morning.”
The celebration will start on Friday, July 15, when food booths, games and other activities begin at 5 p.m. in the park. At 8 p.m., popular musical group Joshua Creek will perform in concert. The group combines lyrical storytelling with Americana/Country music into what one disc jockey described as “like listening to a Norman Rockwell painting.” They will perform until about 9 p.m.
The Handcart Days parade will start at 9 a.m. on July 16, with KSL-TV’s and Bountiful resident Mark Eubank as Grand Marshal. The 1.8 mile parade is one of the state’s largest, with marching bands, dancers, entertainers and colorfully decorated floats created by local church groups. It traditionally draws tens of thousands of spectators, with participation from many cities and organizations along the Wasatch Front. Candy and other items can be “handed out” at the sides of the route, but nothing will be thrown from floats or parade entries. So kids wanting candy don’t have to and shouldn’t run out onto the roads.
From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. that day, activities will resume at Bountiful City Park, with both free and ticketed events for families. There will also be demonstrations of Pioneer Day activities, along with lots of food and drink options.
The day will culminate with the fireworks spectacular at Mueller Park Junior High at 10 p.m.
But Handcart Days doesn’t end there. On Saturday, July 23, there will be three different races for runners, all presented by the South Davis Recreation Center. The Handcart Half Marathon begins at 6 a.m., the Frontier 5K at 7 a.m. and the Pioneer Pete 1K at 7:45 a.m. Information on those races can be found at handcarthalf.com.
The celebration is in honor of the early Mormon pioneers who crossed the plains to settle in the Salt Lake Valley in 1847. The traditional Days of ‘47 Parade in downtown Salt Lake City will be held on Saturday, July 23 this year. Many of the entries in that parade have in the past also participated in the Handcart Days parade. λ